French space agency President visits ESTEC
Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of France’s CNES space agency, was welcomed this week on a tour of ESA’s largest establishment by ESA’s Director General.
He was welcomed on his 21 January visit by ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain and other ESA Directors and senior managers for presentations and an extensive tour of the facilities.
ESA has sites in several European countries; ESTEC is the largest and is the technical heart of the Agency, the incubator of the European space effort, where most ESA projects are born and where they are guided through the various phases of development. Staff from all of ESA’s 20 Member States work there on science, exploration, telecommunications, human spaceflight, satellite navigation and Earth observation projects.
The establishment hosts one of the largest test centres for spacecraft in the world as well as highly specialised laboratories for system engineering, components and materials, working with a network of other facilities and labs throughout Europe.
Current and future ESA and CNES cooperation was discussed during the visit.
Mr Dordain commented: “We are very pleased to welcome the President of CNES here to our technical heart. CNES is one of the largest contributors to ESA and also ESA’s partner for many of its programmes, in science, telecommunications, Earth observation and human spaceflight, as well as a source of management and technical expertise which reinforces the capacities of ESA.”
Mr Le Gall added: “It was a great pleasure for me to visit ESTEC, one of the world’s foremost space engineering centres. This visit gave us the opportunity to recall the longstanding and constructive ties between ESA and CNES and the programmes we have accomplished together, and to look ahead to the major challenges that await us, especially this year, which will be a decisive one for the future of spacefaring Europe.”
At the end of his visit, Mr Le Gall met senior French nationals working at the establishment.